Friday Forage

The past two weeks, I’ve been asking you on the Friday Forage to dive into the new website to find some of NCSE’s greatest historical writings. The first week’s forage had you searching for material on the Kitzmiller trial—kudos to Steve Bowden for foraging first! The next week’s forage was focused on NCSE’s position on science and religion. Congrats to Dan Hough for digging up that piece.

You all did such a great job finding the articles, it made me think that perhaps we can do more with this column than merely sending you on a webquest. So this week, I’m not going to ask you to forage at all, but rather to read and discuss another gem from the archives. So, perhaps less of a Friday Forage than a Friendly Friday Forum.

The piece that I want to discuss this week is by Keith Miller, entitled “Communicating Evolutionary Science to a Religious Public.” Originally printed in RNCSE back in 2009, it explores the issue of how to communicate science to a skeptical public—NCSE’s bread & butter!

The author shares his thoughts about the importance of religious people sharing evolution with their communities so that they can not only understand it, but also build trust between religious communities and the scientific community.

He writes:

It is essential to the advancement of the public's understanding and acceptance of modern science (particularly evolutionary science) that we articulate that science to the faith communities of which we are a part. The presumption of "warfare" between science and religious faith perpetuates erroneous understandings of the nature and content of science. Such misconceptions erect completely unnecessary barriers to the embrace of science by a substantial portion of the population, and turn public science education into a forum for cultural warfare.

Miller writes further about common misconceptions that can often keep religious people away from the sciences, such as a misunderstanding of the term “theory”—another favorite topic of NCSE staff and members everywhere.

Take a look at the piece and let us know your thoughts. Is it useful? Does it seem just as relevant today as it was in 2009? How would you update it? If you’re an educator, could you use something like this for professional development? What do you think of the author’s argument to have theistic scientists bring evolution to their religious communities? Do you think there are better ways to connect with communities that might be skeptical or untrusting of evolution or science more generally?

Remember to keep the comments civil—my mom reads this blog!

Minda Berbeco
Short Bio

Minda Berbeco is the former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.